Tax & Accounting Blog

Social Security Number Randomization in Effect

1099, ONESOURCE, Tax Information Reporting, Trust Tax, US Income Tax Compliance August 4, 2011

social security

Does Your Organization Need to Update Screening Programs?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has changed the way SSNs are issued.  A new randomization of the assignment of SSNs went into effect on June 25, 2011.  SSNs are now being assigned in a geographically random and non-sequential order.  Thus, for SSNs assigned after June 25 of this year, there is no longer any significance in certain arrangements or ranges of numbers. 

  • No geographical significance in the first three numbers of the SSN.  The first three numbers of SSNs issued after June 25 are no longer an area number because they no longer relate to any particular state.
  • No significance in a high group number.  The report known as the “high group list” will be frozen as it was prior to June 25.  For many years, that monthly list provided the highest range of numbers issued for a particular geographical region.  But, subsequent to the introduction of randomization, it would no longer be effective to use a “high group list” in validation routines and the SSA will no longer issue such a list.
  • No prohibition against assigning certain previously unused numbers.  Previously unassigned combinations will be used for the first three numbers of SSNs, except that 000 and 666 will not be used and 900 through 999 will not be used.

 Some organizations or services use scanning programs, which screen for possibly bogus SSNs by applying the former rules of geographical significance, “high group” listing or formerly unassigned three-number combinations.  If this is the case for your organization, ask whether the program has been updated to accommodate the randomization of assignment of new SSNs.  You can find out more about randomization at